#10 Best Down Jackets for Backpacking 2023
Here we've compiled a list of chosen the best down jackets for backpacking from ultralight to winter-ready. Read on!
|👤 Written by:||A. R. Wardhana|
|⏳ Updated on:|
|📋 List:||10 items|
|👀 Reader:||64 views|
We hope you love the shops and products we recommend! Just so you know, our site may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and products in stock as of time of publication.
Many people would love to have a down jacket. When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than putting something warm over each arm. The best down jackets are warm, technical pieces of clothing that work just as well on the mountain as they do at home or in a bar. Down jackets have been around for hundreds of years, and today’s versions are all about high warmth, low weight, and long-lasting materials.
We’ve put a number of down jackets through a lot of reviews, and we’ve listed the best down jackets for backpacking below. The jackets are divided into even smaller subcategories for specific uses, but we think almost anyone could wear and love any of the ones on this list. Good luck picking your down jacket!
Table of contents
1.Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket: Perfect for Travelling
2.Decathlon Forclaz Trek 100: Best Budget
3.Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer UL Jacket: Ultralight Puffy Category
4.Western Mountaineering Flash Down Jacket: High Performance
5.Arc'teryx Thorium AR Down Hoodie: Best for Outdoor Lifestyle
6.Patagonia Women's Down Sweater Hoody: Multiple Zippered Hand Pockets
7.Jack Wolfskin DNA Tundra Hoody W: Best PFC Free
8.REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket 2.0: Best Affordable
9.Patagonia RAB Microlight Alpine Down Jacket: Great DWR Coating
10.Patagonia Goose Hybridge Lite Hooded Down Jacket: Fantastic Affordable Jacket
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Cant find the answer you’re looking for? Reach out to our Q&A community.
Is it worth buying a down jacket?
Down jackets have a thin layer of insulation that keeps you very warm. They are perfect for low-intensity activities in cold weather, like strolling, walking your dog, waiting for the bus, going shopping, or just sitting in a cold tractor cab.
Are down jackets good for backpacking?
In short, backpackers must have a down jacket that can be packed up. This also applies to weight; you want a down jacket that is very light and easy to pack up. This will make it easy to put a great layer of warmth in your pack.
How do I choose one of the best down jackets for backpacking?
A down jacket should have well-placed pockets where you can keep important things. Even if you are wearing a backpack or a climbing harness, it should be easy to get to the pockets.
What is the best down jacket to buy?
How and where you’ll use your down jacket will determine which one is best for you. If the weather is mostly dry and very cold, you might want to buy a down jacket with more down fill that will keep more heat. If you’ll be in a really wet place, you might be better off with a synthetic down jacket.
Nano Puff Jacket
|#1||Amazon Rei.com eBay|
Forclaz Trek 100
|#2||Amazon Decathlon.com eBay|
Ghost Whisperer UL Jacket
|#3||Amazon Mountainhardwear.com eBay|
Flash Down Jacket
|#4||Amazon Backcountry.com eBay|
Thorium AR Down Hoodie
|#5||Amazon Rei.com eBay|
Women's Down Sweater Hoody
|#6||Amazon Patagonia.com eBay|
DNA Tundra Hoody W
|#7||Amazon Jack-wolfskin.com eBay|
Co-op 650 Down Jacket 2.0
|#8||Amazon Rei.com eBay|
RAB Microlight Alpine Down Jacket
|#9||Amazon Rab.equipment eBay|
Goose Hybridge Lite Hooded Down Jacket
|#10||Amazon Canadagoose.com eBay|
10 List of Best Down Jackets for Backpacking
- Have a problem
with this product?#1
Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket
Perfect for Travelling2 experts agree 2 experts disagreeWHY WE LIKE IT:
The Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody is perfectly acceptable for the great outdoors, city wear, and even travel. They appear and feel light, and you would never guess how warm they are. Because of this, the Nano Puff is ideal for packing into hiking jackets and bringing along on hikes or long backpacking trips, as it fits easily into a tiny stuff sack. The shell is made entirely of recycled materials, and the production process has received blue-sign certification for eco-friendly manufacturing methods.
Pros (reasons to buy)Lightweight, warm, and versatile
Cons (reasons to avoid)Pricey
What other experts likedThe Nano Puff features a beautiful design and you could definitely wear this about town and keep your cool.The Broke BackpackerVery compactly to the size of a small cushion, and may even fit in your pocket or a stuff sackThe Broke Backpacker
What other experts didn't likeThey can sometimes be a bit too bloody warmThe Broke BackpackerIsn’t intended to handle anything too extremeThe Broke Backpacker
- Have a problem
with this product?#2
Decathlon Forclaz Trek 100
Best Budget2 experts agree 2 experts disagreeWHY WE LIKE IT:
If you’re on a budget, the Decathlon Trek 100 is the best option. It’s a fraction of the price of most down jackets, but the weight, materials, and features are comparable to the best. The jacket includes two zippered pockets and an adjustable hem. So, if you’re seeking one of the best hiking jackets on the market, this is a good option.
Pros (reasons to buy)Lightweight
Available for men and women
2 zippered pockets
Cons (reasons to avoid)Heavy
No adjustable hood
No chest pocket
What other experts likedA down hooded jacket that will keep you warm down to 40F degreesThe Forclaz Trek 100 has a sewn-through baffle design, where the interior and exterior fabric are sewn together to create pockets to hold the down insulation.
What other experts didn't likeNot be as durable as a top-shelf jacketRuns small
- Have a problem
with this product?#3
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer UL Jacket
Ultralight Puffy Category1 experts agree 1 experts disagreeWHY WE LIKE IT:
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer has long been a favorite of thru-hikers and a top contender in the ultralight puffy category. Thanks to an ultra-thin outer material and 1000-fill down insulation, the Ghost Whisperer UL is now even lighter. Although it isn’t the lightest down jacket available in absolute terms, we believe it is the lightest jacket that is still practiced in a wide range of three-season conditions.
Pros (reasons to buy)Impressively lightweight
Warm for any weather
Durable water-repellant (DWR) finish
Simple elastic cuffs
Cons (reasons to avoid)The elastic hood is not adjustable
No stuff sack
What other experts likedThe Ghost Whisperer UL has proven to be a good match for moderately cold temperatures
What other experts didn't likeIt’s worth noting that the UL uses virgin materials in the shell fabric
- Have a problem
with this product?#4
Western Mountaineering Flash Down Jacket
High Performance1 experts agree 1 experts disagreeWHY WE LIKE IT:
It’s one of the lightweight down jackets designed for mild conditions that call for a high-performance, low-weight insulation layer. Western Mountaineering is a renowned sleeping bag manufacturer based in the United States. There’s also a full-length zipper with a down-filled draft tube that keeps warm air from leaking out through the zipper coils, according to the brand sleeping bag expertise. The Hooded Flash is a well-made shell that is designed to keep you warm while being simple to wear.
Pros (reasons to buy)Full-length zipper
Available in 4 natural colors
Cons (reasons to avoid)No pocket
No stick-on labels to wear off
What other experts likedThe Hooded Flash is a superbly made shell, purpose made to keep you warm, with little complication in the design.
What other experts didn't likeThere are no drawcords for hood or hem adjustmentSection Hiker
- Have a problem
with this product?#5
Arc'teryx Thorium AR Down Hoodie
Best for Outdoor Lifestyle1 experts agree 1 experts disagreeWHY WE LIKE IT:
The Arc’teryx Thorium AR Hoody fills that need. The Thorium AR Hoody is one of the essential down jackets for usage in any urban or outdoor setting. It’s a real all-a-rounder that doesn’t always dazzle in a specific setting but is the ideal companion for a lifetime of action. The Thorium AR Hoody has performed well in the cold and wet, due to the combination of 750-fill-power goose down for warmth and Core loft synthetic insulation for wet-weather performance.
Pros (reasons to buy)Standalone piece
Durable water repellent (DWR) coating
Available for men and women style
Cons (reasons to avoid)No external chest pocket
What other experts likedThe Thorium works well for both everyday and performance use, offers solid warmth and weather protection, and features the superior build quality and clean styling
What other experts didn't likeThere are no external chest pockets.Gear Assistant
- Have a problem
with this product?#6
Patagonia Women's Down Sweater Hoody
Multiple Zippered Hand Pockets1 experts agree 1 experts disagreeWHY WE LIKE IT:
The Patagonia Women’s Down Sweater Hoody is durable and water-resistant. It’s made with 800-fill RDS-certified, traceable goose down, and a recycled, windproof 20D ripstop polyester shell that has a DWR treatment for moderate water resistance. The jacket combines multiple zippered hand pockets, elastic cuffs, and an adjustable hood and hem, as well as all the other features you’d expect from a puffy.
Pros (reasons to buy)Made from recycled materials
Wind and waterproof
Multiple zippered hand pockets
Completed with hood
Cons (reasons to avoid)Only one way adjustable
Can feel under-stuffed
What other experts likedLightweight and comfortable warmth is what the Patagonia Down Sweater is all about.
What other experts didn't likeIn sustained precipitation, down wets out and begins to clump, losing its insulating power.Switch Back Travel
- Have a problem
with this product?#7
Jack Wolfskin DNA Tundra Hoody W
Best PFC Free1 experts agree 1 experts disagreeWHY WE LIKE IT:
The Jack Wolfskin DNA Tundra Hoody is a lightweight down hoodie with twin STORMLOCK materials for complete weather protection. It ranks around the center of our best down jackets list, and it’s a strong contender for the title of Best All-Around Down Jacket. This jacket is filled with RDS-certified responsibly sourced natural duck down with a fill power of 700. It’s also PFC-free, which means it emits fewer greenhouse emissions, and it’s composed of recycled polyester. If you’re looking for a versatile jacket that will keep you warm, try this one!
Pros (reasons to buy)Ultralight
Cons (reasons to avoid)No adjustable hood
There's no hem to keep the wind out
What other experts likedAside from its stellar performance and sharp looks, is its inherent sustainability.Backpackers
What other experts didn't likeMovement is restricted with the jacket zipped, and the hood is not adjustableTask and Purpose
- Have a problem
with this product?#8
REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket 2.0
Best Affordable1 experts agree 1 experts disagreeWHY WE LIKE IT:
A style that has seen incremental improvements year after year, the REI Down Jacket 650 2 is the retailer’s solid attempt at a well-made cheap down jacket. The quality is perfect for most urban hikers, day hikers, and car campers because it is lightweight and durable. Having a variety of hues to choose from at a good price would make this one a good option.
Pros (reasons to buy)DWR (durable water repellent)
2 internal pockets
2 hand pockets with zipping
Cons (reasons to avoid)Lacks adjustments at the hem and cuffs
A large and boxy fit isn’t ideal for performance use
Use standard nylon
What other experts likedThe jacket’s lining is soft against the skin, and the 4.2 ounces of 650-fill down kept me warm into the 40s Fahrenheit with just a t-shirt on underneath.
What other experts didn't likeIt packs into its own pocket but doesn't have a built-in clip-in loop.Outdoor Gear Lab
- Have a problem
with this product?#9
Patagonia RAB Microlight Alpine Down Jacket
Great DWR Coating1 experts agree 1 experts disagreeWHY WE LIKE IT:
If you often go on adventures in wet weather but don’t want to give up the benefits of down, like its lightweight, long life, and easy packing, then the Patagonia Rab Microlight Alpine is the best choice for you. This hoodie has a “down proof” Pertex Quantum face fabric with a great DWR coating and recycled 700-fill power down that repels water.
The hood is a good size and has a brim to keep light rain from getting in your face. This jacket is not waterproof, but it is very resistant to water. It does this while still being comfortable, light, and easy to pack. We like the benefits of down and are glad that Rab made a down hoody that can stand up to water, which is its worst enemy.
Pros (reasons to buy)Water-resistant
Good DWR coating
Cons (reasons to avoid)Not as lofty or light as others
A bit heavy
What other experts likedThe Rab Microlight Alpine is a great choice if you need a layer of insulation that you can pack up and use in weather that is mostly wet.Outdoor Gear Lab
What other experts didn't likeIt's pretty heavy and a little too complicated to use every day.Switch Back Travel
- Have a problem
with this product?#10
Patagonia Goose Hybridge Lite Hooded Down Jacket
Fantastic Affordable Jacket1 experts agree 1 experts disagreeWHY WE LIKE IT:
The Patagonia Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Hoody is probably one of the nicest hiking jackets you’ll ever wear. Especially after looking at the Canada Goose website and seeing a bunch of way too handsome men with way too well-kept beards wearing the jackets on way too clean city streets. But if you’re a real man and your layering system is Jack Daniels and baby fat, you’ll still like the Hybridge Lite Hoody for its warmth, functionality, and street-smart looks. If you can afford this jacket, we promise that you won’t regret how it performs.
Pros (reasons to buy)Breathable materials
Stylish looks and convenient design
Cons (reasons to avoid)A bit pricey
Lacking hem adjustments
The hood is a bit large for some people
What other experts likedThe Hybridge Lite did very well because it was very breathable and could work perfectly in a wide range of temperatures.Backpackers
What other experts didn't likeIf everything had been just right, this might have been good enough. The fatal blow? The hood was too large.Outdoor Gear Lab
Conclusion: Best Down Jackets for Backpacking
A warm layer that provides insulation is an important part of any layering system. How warm your insulating layer needs to be, how light it needs to be, and what features it needs will depend on your preferences and needs. We hope that our detailed descriptions of the best down jackets for backpacking will help you decide which one will work best for you. As down jackets continue to get lighter and warmer, we’ll keep up with the latest changes and post our findings here.